This week we’ve seen how cars can make a musician’s career by inspiring them to make music around the theme of living life in the fast lane. It worked for Bruce Springsteen and ZZ Top among others, but sometimes a rock star’s reputation can be made – or broken – by other auto-related activities.
When OK Go went viral with their Youtube sensations “Here It Goes Again” and “This Too Shall Pass”, legions of new fans were brought in by the song’s catchy hooks and particularly the inventive choreography in the videos. However, their recent video for “Needing/Getting” saw the band reinvented as stunt drivers, performing vocals and percussion live within the car. Lead singer Damian Kulash takes the wheel to drive the band through an obstacle course filled with musical instruments – over 1000 were used – as pneumatic arms emerge from the car to strike the appropriate drums, keys and strings as the car drives past each one. So far the video has amassed over 21 million hits on YouTube, proving the continuing star power of the car.
And if you need further proof of a car making a rock n roll statement, look no further than the late, great Keith Moon; drummer in The Who. His was a debauched tale of rock n roll excess along with some quite literally explosive drumming; just ask fans who bore witness to his hobby of blowing up drum kits at the end of concerts.
On the evening of Moon’s 21st birthday the band found itself opening for Herman’s Hermits in a small town called Flint, Michigan – the state from where three of the USA’s top car manufacturers originate; GM, Chrysler and Ford are all based in Detroit. Having drank dry that particular branch of the Holiday Inn, the celebration turned to the swimming pool, where matters progressed further out of hand. A concerned employee called for police assistance to break up the party, where Keith tried to make his escape in a rented car. It’s fair to say that he wasn’t in much of a state to drive, and subsequently the car – differing descriptions of which would make it either a Lincoln Contintental or a Rolls Royce – plunged into the swimming pool, causing untold damage. Needless to say, The Who were never extended the courtesy of playing in Flint again; or for that matter, staying in any of the nation’s Holiday Inn locations.
More of which goes to show the effect that driving can have on a rock star reputation – whether used creatively or drunkenly.